Preschoolers develop early literacy skills by seeing and using familiar words. The most familiar words to preschoolers are their names. Incorporating regular daily activities with names builds those early literacy skills and can create a foundation for future reading and writing. Here’s one of my daily routines that uses student names and builds literacy.
I have only one classroom helper each day in my room, which we identify as the leader. We have a special envelope that we use to reveal who the leader/helper is for the day. To make this, you will need:
- Sentence strips
- Marker, scissors
- Card stock or thick paper, glue (optional)
Make a label for the envelope, if you choose. Cut a piece of card stock the same size as the envelope. Print “Who is the leader today?” on the card stock and glued the label to the front of the envelope. I did this so the name would not be visible through the envelope. Sometimes the paper of the envelope is very thin.
Slit the side of the envelope open so the name cards will slide through it.
Print “________ is the leader today” on a sentence strip. Display this sentence in your circle time area.
Print names on lengths of sentence strips to make name cards. (You may already have name cards that you can use for this activity.)
Daily Helper Routine Using Names
Place the name of the leader in the envelope before you begin the day.
Show the envelope to the children and read the question on the front. Carefully slide out the name card to reveal the first letter. Ask: “What is the first letter of our leader’s name?” Children can identify it. Those preschoolers whose names begin with that letter can stand. I lead the children to predict who could be the leader.
If you use a word wall, call attention to the letter on the word wall. Find the names on the word wall that begin with that letter.
Slide out the card to show the second letter. Guide children whose names do not have that second letter in their names to sit. (Use the word wall again, if needed, to see letters in names.)
Continue this process until the entire name card is out of the envelope. When the card is out of the envelope, read the name. That child should be the only one still standing.
Attach the name to the board in the blank space in the sentence. The leader comes forward and, using a pointer, reads the sentence. When you begin this routine, you will need to help the child read the sentence. As they practice this routine, many children will be able to recall and read the sentence themselves.
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